New PDF release: Critical Geopolitics

By Gearoid O. Tuathail

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The second was the establishment of the Zeitschrift für Geopolitik (Journal of Geopolitics) in 1924, with a number of collaborators. Haushofer’s aim was to create a popular and influential journal that would address contemporary geopolitical issues and problems. Geopolitics, for Haushofer, was inseparable from practical politics; it was an aid to the conduct of statecraft. In 1928 he and the other editors of the Zeitschrift outlined their definition of geopolitics: Geopolitics is the science of the conditioning of political processes by the earth.

In scripting “geography” in the above manner, Spykman is already situating himself within discourse. In holding to the view that geography “just is,” Spykman is already participating in the realm of rhetoric and argumentation. The faultline in the structure of the geopolitical gaze, the aporia in its division between the natural (“just is”) and the political (“argue”), is that this very distinction must be transgressed for geopolitics to make sense. The condition of possibility of the geopolitical gaze is also its condition of impossibility.

It is a widening of vision, a broadening of focus beyond the regional or continental scale. This setting into perspective is, second, a steadying of vision, a deliberate construction of a perspectivalist triangle of vision with the sovereign monocular eye/I at its base and the stage/spectacle/ scene of history or international politics at the far wall of the triangle. The fixed disembodied eye of the geographer qua strategist is its foundation. Finally, this setting into perspective is also a distantiation from the immediate surface of appearances of “international politics,” from the to and fro of normal events, from the confusing stimuli of everyday life.

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